Saturday, March 16, 2013

Martha Daniell Logan 1704-1779 South Carolina Gardener and Teacher


Martha Daniell Logan (1704-1779), colonial teacher and gardener, was born in St. Thomas Parish, S.C., the 2nd child of Robert Daniell and his second wife, Martha Wainwright.  Her father, who may originally have been a Virginian, had arrived in South Carolina from Barbados in 1679; already propertied, he increased his holdings in real estate, slaves, and ships over the years. In 1704 and 1705, he had a stormy term as lieutenant governor of North Carolina; and he served twice in the same capacity in South Carolina from 1715 through 1717.

Nothing is known of his daughter Martha’s education, but it surely consisted of reading and writing English along with the skills of needlework. Her childhood was not prolonged. In May 1718, when she was 13, her father died; and on July 30, of the following year she was married to George Logan, Jr. At about the same time her mother married the senior Logan, an Aberdeen Scot who, like Daniell, had held offices of trust in the province.

The younger Logans spent their early married years on a plantation some 10 miles up the Wando River from Charles Town, on land which Martha had inherited from her father. There, between 1720 and 1736, eight children were born to them: George, Martha, Robert Daniell (who died as a child in 1726), William, John, Frances, Anne, and finally another Robert who also died before reaching adulthood.

As early as Mar. 20, 1742, Martha Logan advertised in the South Carolina Gazette that she would board students who would be “taught to read and write, also to work plain Work Embroidery, tent and cut work for 120 l. a year,” at her house up Wando River.  Twelve years later, after she had removed to Charles Town, the Gazette of Aug. 4, 1754, carried her proposal for a boarding school in which a master of writing and arithmetic would supplement her instruction in reading, drawing, and needlework. Tradition had it that she also managed the Logan plantation, though this is less certain, as her husband did not die until July 1, 1764.  Her first advertisement for a school did, however, offer for sale the home estate and other properties, an offer which she repeated on Mar. 13, 1749, when she announced that she acted as attorney for her son George Logan of Cape Fear.

She is best known for her interest in horticulture. She is assumed to be the “Lady of this Province” whose “Gardener’s Kalendar” was published in John Tobler’s South Carolina Almanack for 1752, according to the South Carolina Gazette of Dec. 6, 1751.  Here is her Kalendar from 1756.

Tobler's South Carolina Almanack of 1756.

Directions for Managing a Kitchen Garden every month of the year Done by a Lady

January

Plant peas and Beans: Sow Spinage for Use and for Seed: that which is preserved for Seed
must never be cut: a small Quantity will yield plentifully in rich ground. Sow Cabbage for
Summer Use, when they are fit transplant them into rich Earth. Sow Parsley. Transplant
Artichokes into very rich mellow Ground and they will bear in the Fall. This month all kinds
of Fruit-Trees may be Transplanted.

February

Sow Celery, Cucumbers, Melons, Kidney-Beans, Spinage, Asparagus, Radish. Parsley, Lettice,
to be transplanted in shady Places: they must be moved young and watered every Morning:
Pond or Rain Water is the best. If the season does not prove too wet, this Month is best for
planting all Sorts of Trees, except the Fig, which should not be moved 'til March, when the
suckers may be taken from the Roots of old Trees. The Fig will not bear pruning. The
middle of this Month is the best for Grafting in the Cleft. If Fruit-Trees have not been
pruned last Month, they must not be delayed longer. About the Middle of this Month, sow
Spinage, Radish, Parsley and Lettice for the last time. Plant Dwarf and Hotspur Pease. Sow
Onions, Carrots and Parsnips; and plant out Carrots, Parsnips, Cabbage and Onions, for
Seed the next Year. Plant Hops, Strawberries, and all kinds of aromatic Herbs

March

Whatever was neglected last Month, may be done in this, with good Sue. cess, if it is not too
dry; if it be, you must water more frequently. Now plant Rounceval Pease and all manner of
Kidney Beans.

April

Continue to plant aromatic Herbs Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender etc. and be careful to weed
and water what was formerly planted. Lettice, Spinage and all kinds of Salading may be
planted to use all the Summer but they must be frequently watered and shaded from the Sun.

May

This month is chiefly for weeding and watering: Nothing sown or planted does well.

June

Clip Evergreens, and Herbs for drying, Thyme, Sage, Carduus, Rosemary, Lavender, etc. Sow
Carrots, Parsnips and Cabbage. If the Weather is dry and hot the Ground must be well
watered, after being dug deep and made mellow. Straw or Stable Litter well wetted and laid
pretty thick upon the Beds where Seeds are sown, in the Heat of the Day, and taken off at
Night is a good expedient to forward the Growth.

July

What was done last Month may also be done this. Continue to water, in the evening only.
The latter end of this Month sow Pease for the Fall. Water such things as are going to seed,
is being very needful to preserve good Seed. Turnips and Onions may be sown; Leeks,
scallions and all of this Tribe planted.

August

Sow Turneps and another crop of Hotspur or Dwarf Pease. Still Continue to weed and water
as before.

September

Showers of Rain will be frequent. Now prepare the ground for the following Seeds viz.
Spinage, Dutch brown Lettice, Endive, and other crop of Pease and Beans. Now you may
inoculate with Buds.


The the calendar and a variant version appeared often in South Carolina and Georgia almanacs into the 1780’s.

The Pennsylvania botanist John Bartram met Martha Logan briefly in 1760; and, at least through 1765, they carried on an eager exchange of letters, seeds, and plants. “Her garden is her delight,” wrote Bartram to his London correspondent Peter Collinson.

It was also a source of income. The South Carolina Gazette of Nov. 5, 1753, gave notice that Daniel (Robert Daniell) Logan sold imported seeds, flower roots, and fruit stones at his “mother’s house on the Green near Trotts point,” but perhaps because of his death the nursery business soon passed into Martha Logan’s hands, as a diary reference of 1763 and a newspaper advertisement of 1768 attest.

Martha Logan died in Charleston in 1779. Martha Logan was buried in the family vault, since destroyed, in St. Phillip’s churchyard, Charleston.

This posting based in part on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Friday, March 15, 2013

Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722-1793) in South Carolina


It is difficult to decide whether this essay on South Carolina's Eliza Lucas Pinckney should be posted in the Early American Gardens blog or in the 18th-Century Women blog, so I have decided to post it in both. I simply could not chose, for her observations of & contributions to gardening & agriculture in South Carolina were immense. And the insights from her letters & memoranda into the life of an educated colonial woman in 18th century America are unparalled. (If you are at all interested in Eliza's view of the grounds of neighbors & her own attempts at ornamental gardening, I suggest you read the extended version of her life posted on the Early American Gardens blog.)

Eliza Lucas Pinckney (c 1722-1793)
was born into privilege on the Caribbean island of Antigua, where her British military officer father was stationed. Her parents sent her back to England for a proper education, before they sailed to their new home in South Carolina. Ironically, as a teen-ager she would manage her father's plantation, while he was away in the military; and, years later, she would manage her husband's plantation after his death.

When Eliza was 16, her father, seeking a healthier climate for his ailing wife, brought the mother & their two daughters to a plantation, which he had inherited on Wappoo Creek in South Carolina, near Charleston, in 1738.

When the growing conflict between England & Spain, called the War of Jenkins’ Ear, forced him to return to his military post in Antigua in 1739, the management of Wappoo, and of her father's 2 other plantations in the Carolina low country, fell to Eliza.

At age 16, Eliza Lucas Pinckney became manager of her father’s 3 plantations, took care of her younger sister, & her dying mother. We have many details of Eliza's life & hopes; because when she was 18, Eliza began keeping her letters & memoranda from 1740 until 1762. Her letterbook is one of the largest surviving collections of letters of a colonial woman. Her rich letters reveal her quick-witted perseverance & grit, as she forged an unique life for herself & plotted a new path for agriculture in South Carolina.

When she was 18, Eliza wrote of her new situation to a friend in England, on May 2, 1740. "I like this part of the world, as my lott has fallen here... I prefer England to it, ’tis true, but think Carolina greatly preferable to the West Indias, and was my Papa here I should be very happy...

Charles Town, the principal one in this province, is a polite, agreeable place. The people live very Gentile and very much in the English taste. The Country is in General fertile and abounds with Venison and wild fowl...

My Papa and Mama’s great indulgence to me leaves it to me to chose our place of residence either in town or Country, but I think it more prudent as well as most agreeable to my Mama and self to be in the Country during my Father’s absence. We are 17 mile by land and 6 by water from Charles Town where we have about 6 agreeable families around us with whom we live in great harmony.

I have a little library well furnished (for my papa has left me most of his books) in which I spend part of my time. My Musick and the Garden, which I am very fond of, take up the rest of my time that is not imployed in business, of which my father has left me a pretty good share and indeed, ’twas inavoidable as my Mama’s bad state of health prevents her going through any fatigue.

I have the business of 3 plantations to transact, which requires much writing and more business and fatigue of other sorts than you can imagine. But least you should imagine it too burthensom to a girl at my early time of life, give me leave to answer you: I assure you I think myself happy that I can be useful to so good a father, and by rising very early I find I can go through much business."


The teenager brought her infectuous love of learning with her to Wappoo. She reveled in music & could “tumble over one little tune” on the flute. She quoted Milton, read Richardson’s Pamela, & spoke French. She enjoyed reading John Locke, Virgil's Plutarch, & Thomas Wood. But, her favorite subject was botany.

She tutored her sister Polly & “two black girls,” whom she envisioned making “school mistress’s for the rest of the Negroe children,” if her father approved. In 1741, she recorded sighting a comet whose appearance Sir Isaac Newton had predicted. Eliza enjoyed brief soical visits in Charleston, but devoted most of her energy to her family & to plotting the success of the plantation.

In July of 1740, she wrote a memorandum, "Wrote my Father a very long letter on his plantation affairs and... On the pains I had taken to bring the Indigo, Ginger, Cotton and Lucerne and Casada to perfection, and had greater hopes from the Indigo (if I could have the seed earlier next year from the West India’s) than any of the rest of the things I had tryd."

Eliza recognized that the growing textile manufacturing industry was creating a worldwide market for good dyes. In 1739, she began cultivating & creating new strains of the indigo plant from which blue dye could be made. She introduced the successful cultivation of the plant indigo used in making dye to the American colonies.

While she was forging ahead in her agricultural experiments, she worried about her father as she wrote in 1740, to him in Antigua, where he remained on military duty, "I want of words to Express the concern we are under at not hearing from you. The dangerous situation you are in terrifies us beyond expression and is increased by the fearful apprehensions of [your] being ordered to some place of immediate danger. . . I know how ready you are to fight in a just cause as well as the love you bear your Country in preference to every other regard..."

She continued to look for ways to make a profit from the family's plantations. On April 23, 1741, she wrote a memorandum, "Wrote to my Father informing him of the loss of a Negroe man also the boat being overset in Santilina Sound and 20 barrels of Rice lost. Told him of our making a new garden and all conveniences we can to receive him when we are so happy to see him. Also about Starrat and pitch and Tarr."

In June of 1741, she finally heard from her father after 6 months without any letters, and she wrote him in return, "Never were letters more welcome than yours...We expect the boat dayly from Garden Hill [plantation] when I shall be able to give you an account of affairs there. The Cotton, Guiney corn, and most of the Ginger planted here was cutt off by a frost.

"I wrote you in a former letter we had a fine Crop of Indigo Seed upon the ground, and since informed you the frost took it before it was dry. I picked out the best of it and had it planted but there is not more than a hundred bushes of is come up - which proves the more unluckey as you have sent a man to make it. I make no doubt Indigo will prove a very valuable Commodity in time if we could have the seed from the west Indias in time enough to plant the latter end of March, that the seed might be dry enough to gather before our frost. I am sorry we lost this season. We can do nothing towards it now but make the works ready for next year."

"Eliza hoped a fine grade of blue indigo grown in Carolina could be prepared into dye cakes for cloth manufacturers in England. The market for South Carolina rice had dwindled with the war, and indigo could be bought from South Carolina instead of the French Carribean islands, if she was successful at introducing a 2nd staple crop to the colony."


“I was ignorant both at the proper season for sowing it [indigo] and the soil best adapted to it”, Eliza wrote. Yet it was her perseverance which brought to success experiments in growing this crop which had been tried & discarded near Charleston some 70 years earlier.

Knowing how complex was the process of producing the dye from the fresh-cut plants, Colonel Lucas sent an experienced indigo maker from the French island on Montserrat in the summer of 1741. Optimistically, Eliza wrote her father that October “informing him we made 20 weight of Indigo….’Tis not quite dry or I should have sent him some. Now desire he will send us a hundred weight of seed to plant in the spring.”

At the age of 19, in September of 1741, Eliza noted that she, "Wrote to my father on plantation business and concerning a planter’s importing Negroes for his own use. Colo. Pinckney thinks not, but thinks it was proposed in the Assembly and rejected. He promised to look over the Act and let me know. Also informed my father of the alteration ’tis soposed there will be in the value of our money- occasioned by a late Act of Parliament that Extends to all America - which is to dissolve all private banks, I think by the 30th of last month, or be liable to lose their Estates, and put themselves out of the King’s protection. Informed him of the Tyranical Government at Georgia."

A month later, she recorded, October 14, 1741, "Wrote to my father informing him we made 20 w[eight] of Indigo and expected 10 more. ’Tis not quite dry or I should have sent him some. Now desire he will send us a hundred weight of seed to plant in the spring."

In April of the next year, she wrote to her friend in England, about her daily routine, "In general then I rise at five o’Clock in the morning, read till Seven, then take a walk in the garden or field, see that the Servants [slaves] are at their respective business, then to breakfast. The first hour after breakfast is spent at my musick, the next is constantly employed in recolecting something I have learned least for want of practise it should be quite lost, such as French and short hand. After that I devote the rest of the time till I dress for dinner to our little Polly and two black girls who I teach to read...

"But to proceed, the first hour after dinner as the first after breakfast at musick, the rest of the afternoon in Needle work till candle light, and from that time to bed time read or write. . . . Mondays my musick Master is here. Tuesdays my friend Mrs. Chardon (about 3 miles distant) and I are constantly engaged to each other, she at our house one Tuesday⎯ I at hers the next and this is one of the happiest days I spend at Woppoe. Thursday the whole day except what the necessary affairs of the family take up is spent in writing, either on the business of the plantations, or letters to my friends. Every other Fryday, if no company, we go a vizeting so that I go abroad once a week and no oftener..."


She wrote to her friend again in May of 1742, "Wont you laugh at me if I tell you I am so busey in providing for Posterity I hardly allow my self time to Eat or sleep and can but just snatch a minnet to write you and a friend or two now. I am making a large plantation of Oaks which I look upon as my own property, whether my father gives me the land or not; and therefore I design many years hence when oaks are more valueable than they are now -- which you know they will be when we come to build fleets. I intend, I say 2 thirds of the produce of my oaks for a charity (I'll let you know my scheme another time) and the other 3rd for those that shall have the trouble of putting my design in Execution. I sopose according to custom you will show this to your Uncle and Aunt. 'She is [a] good girl,' says Mrs. Pinckney. 'She is never Idle and always means well.' 'Tell the little Visionary,' says your Uncle, 'come to town and partake of some of the amusements suitable to her time of life.' Pray tell him I think these so, and what he may now think whims and projects may turn out well by and by. Out of many surely one may hitt..."

The 1744 indigo crop did, indeed, "hitt" & was a success. Six pounds from Wappoo were sent to England and “found better than the French Indigo.” Seed from this crop was distributed to many Carolina planters, who soon were profiting from Carolina's new staple export product.

Inidgo Production in South Carolina. William DeBrahm, A Map of South Carolina and a Part of Georgia. . . London, published by Thomas Jeffreys, 1757.

On May 27, 1744, Eliza Lucas married attorney Charles Pinckney, a childless widower more than 20 years her senior. Pinckney built a house on Charleston’s waterfront for his bride. And at his plantation on the Cooper River, Eliza initialized the culture of silkworms to establish a “silk manufacture.”

By 1746, Carolina planters shipped almost 40,000 pounds of indigo to England; the next year the total exported was almost 100,000 pounds. Indigo sales sustained the Carolina economy for 3 decades, until the Revolution cut off trade with England.

Eliza & Charles Pinckney had 4 children within 5 years. Eliza wanted “to be a good Mother to my children…to instill piety, Virtue and true religion into them; to correct their Errors whatever uneasiness it may give myself….”

Charles Pinckney's appointment as commissioner for the colony in London took the family in April of 1753, to England, where they had intended to live, until their sons finished their education. When war with France broke out, Eliza & her husband returned in May of 1758, to Carolina, leaving the boys at school.

Pinckney contracted malaria & died in July of that year. Again Eliza turned to plantation business as she directed her husband’s 7 separate land holdings in the Carolina lo country.

Eliza wrote this letter to the headmaster of her son's school in England, "This informs you of the greatest misfortune that could have happened to me and my dear children on this side Eternity! I am to tell you, hard as the task is, that my dear, dear Mr. Pinckney, the best of men, of husbands and of fathers, is no more!

"Comfort, good Sir, Comfort the tender hearts of my dear children. God Almighty bless them, and if he has any more blessings for me in this world may He give it me in them and their sister.

"The inclosed letter for the dear boys be so good to give them when you think it a proper time. What anguish do I and shall I feel for my poor Infants when they hear the most afflicting sound that could ever reach them!"


By 1760, Eliza was once again fully engaged in managing a plantation, "I find it requires great care, attention and activity to attend properly to a Carolina Estate, tho’ but a moderate one, to do ones duty and make it turn to account, that I find I have as much business as I can go through of one sort or other. Perhaps ’tis better for me, and I believe it is. Had there not been a necessity for it, I might have sunk to the grave by this time in that Lethargy of stupidity which had seized me after my mind had been violently agitated by the greatest shock it ever felt. But a variety of imployment gives my thoughts a relief from melloncholy subjects, tho’ ’tis but a temporary one, and gives me air and exercise, which I believe I should not have had resolution enough to take if I had not been roused to it by motives of duty and parental affection."

Eliza recorded her last letter in her letterbook in 1762. She wrote, "I love a Garden and a book; and they are all my amusement except I include one of the greatest Businesses of my life (my attention to my dear little girl) under that article. For a pleasure it certainly is &c. especially to a mind so tractable and a temper so sweet as hers. For, I thank God, I have an excellent soil to work upon, and by the Divine Grace hope the fruit will be answerable to my indeavours in the cultivation."

Pinckney spent 30 years, after her husband's death, overseeing their plantations & helping her family. She invested monies she earned from exporting indigo into her children’s education. Both of her sons became involved with the new nation. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1852) signed the United States Constitution, and Thomas Pinckney (1750-1828) served as South Carolina Governor & as Minister to Spain & Great Britain.

In her later years, Eliza lived with her widowed daughter Harriet at Daniel Huger Horry's estate, Hampton Plantation near Georgetown (which is one of my favorite towns in all of South Carolina). Eliza died of cancer on May 26, 1793, in Philadelphia, where she had gone for treatment. At her funeral, President George Washington, then presiding over the United States government in Philadelphia, served as one of her pallbearers.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820), author & feminist

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Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820), author & feminist, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the eldest of the 8 children (4 died in infancy) of Winthrop & Judith (Saunders) Sargent. Her father was a wealthy shipowner & merchant, & both parents came from families long prominent in the town. Her brother Winthrop, Jr., born in 1753, served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, rising to the rank of major; he was later secretary of the Northwest Territory (1787) & first governor of the Mississippi Territory (1798). Another brother, Fitz-William, made a fortune in the China & India trade.

John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) Portrait of Mrs. John Stevens (Judith Sargent, later Mrs. John Murray) 1772

As a girl Judith showed such an intellectual bent, that she was allowed to share Winthrop’s lessons as he prepared with a local minister for Harvard, & during his college vacations he reportedly helped her continue her studies.

Judith Sargent was married at 18 to John Stevens, a sea captain & trader. The couple lived in the Gloucester mansion known today as the Sargent-Murray-Gilman-Hough House. It was probably built for them by her father. They had no children.

In her twenties, Mrs. Stevens was “seized with a violent desire to become a writer.” She began composing occasional verse, but as the American Revolution approached, she found her attention turning to social questions & adopted the essay form.

The talk of liberty & human rights that was rife in patriot families prompted her, like her contemporaries Abigail Adams & Mercy Warren, to challenge prevailing assumptions about the status of women. In 1779 she wrote an essay declaring that the sexes had equal minds & calling for more thorough education for girls; her first published piece was her “Desultory Thoughts of Self-Complacency, Especially in Female Bosoms,” which appeared in 1784 in the Gentlemen & Lady’s Town & Country Magazine, a short-lived Boston periodical, over the signature “Constantia.” A healthy self-respect, she argued, would prevent young women from rushing into marriage merely to gain status & avoid spinsterhood.

Meanwhile Judith Sargent Stevens, like her father, had been attracted to the liberal religious doctrines of Universalism. The Sargents had first heard of these beliefs from an English seaman who visited Gloucester in 1770. Four years later, when the itinerant preacher John Murray (1741-1815), now known as the founder of the Universalist Church in America, arrived in town, they offered such support that he decided to settle there. Murray gathered a congregation which, after being expelled from the First Parish Church, in 1780 built the first Universalist meetinghouse in America, on land donated by Winthrop Sargent. Apparently, Judith Sargent Stevens was also attracted to the preacher himself.

High-style Georgian domestic architecture, the house was built in 1782 for Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) The Sargent House Museum, 49 Middle Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her husband left her only 4 years later, sailing for the West Indies.

The war years brought hard times to Gloucester; & in 1786, to avoid imprisonment for debt, John Stevens fled to the West Indies, where he lived only briefly before dying on the Dutch island of St. Eustatius. In 1788, his widow married her pastor, John Murray.

In her new marriage, Judith Sargent Murray had 2 children, George, born in 1789, who lived only a few days, & Julia Maria born in 1791. And, the author “Constantia” began to renew her literary efforts. Her poems, pre-Romantic in feeling & couched in Popean couplets, began to appear in the new Massachusetts Magazine, & in February 1792 this literary monthly inaugurated an essay series by “Constantia” entitled “The Gleaner.” Writing in the person of an imaginary “Mr. Vigillius,” the author expressed her opinions on religion, politics, education, & the manners & customs of the day, illustrating her points with fictional narratives. The series was a favorite with the magazine’s readers & continued until August 1794.

A frequent Murray theme was the upbringing of girls. Mrs. Murray’s longstanding opinions on this subject had been strengthened by reading the Englishwoman Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Mrs. Wollstonecraft’s French Revolutionary fervor did not sit well with Judith Murray, a staunch Federalist who believed that her own country’s Revolution had carried it far enough toward democracy. She nevertheless heartily approved the Vindication’s plea that women be educated to be the “sensible & informed” companion of man & the even more radical demand that she be equipped to earn her own living. Certainly Mrs. Murry understood this need in her own marriages.  In the United States, Mrs. Murray felt, “the Rights of Women’ begin to be understood;” she was encouraged by the many female academies being established & looked forward to seeing the present generation of girls inaugurate “a new era in female history.”

In 1793, the Murrays moved to Boston. The lifting that year of the Revolutionary ban on dramatic performances gave Mrs. Murray a new outlet for her literary ambitions. Her play The Medium was probably the Federalist Street Theatre’s first production by an American author, but it played only one performance (Mar. 2, 1795). The critic Robert Treat Paine, Jr., attacked her The Traveller Returned, produced on Mar. 9, 1796, as pedantic & tedious, & it fared little better.

Once again, Judith Sargent Murry began to experience financial worries. Preacher John Murray had little head for practical affairs, & his health was failing. To increase the family income he proposed that his clever wife’s essays be published.  He guessed correctly.  More than 750 subscribers were secured, headed by George Washington, & The Gleaner appeared in 3 volumes in 1798, with an elaborate dedication to President John Adams. The series today holds a place as a minor classic in the literature of the young republic, bearing comparison with the essays of Mrs. Murray’s contemporaries Joseph Dennie, Philip Freneau, & Noah Webster.

A few of her poems were published in Boston periodicals in the early years of the new century, under the pen names “Honora-Martesia” & “Honora;” but most of her energies went into caring for her husband, who suffered a stroke in 1809, & was thereafter paralyzed, until his death in 1815.

Their financial straits were relieved by the marriage of their daughter in 1812, to Adam Louis Bingamon, son of a wealthy planter in the Mississippi Territory, whom she had met while he was a student at Harvard.

Mrs. Murray organized & edited her husband’s Letters & Sketches of Sermons (3 vols., 1812-13) & his autobiography, published in 1816, as Records of the Life of the Ref. John Murray, written by Himself, with a Continuation by Mrs. Judith Sargent Murray.

In 1816, she moved to live with her daughter in Natchez, Miss., where she died in 1820, aged 69. She was buried in the Bingamon cemetery on St. Catherine’s Creek, overlooking the powerful & poetic Mississippi River.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jane McCrae 1752-1777 Killed during the American Revolution



Jane McCrae (sometimes spelled McCrae or MacCrae, 1752-1777) was a young woman who was purportedly slain by Native American allies of the British army’s Lieutenant General John Burgoyne. It was reported that her death at the hands of General Burgoyne’s Native American allies roused support for the patriot cause & contributed to the American victory at Saratoga. She was born near Bedminster (later Lamington), Somerset County, N.J., where her Scotch-Irish father, James McCrea, served for 26 years as a Presbyterian minister.

John Vanderlyn (American artist, 1775-1852) The Death of Jane McCrea 1804

Jane's brothers included
John McCrea, Colonel American Army
Samuel McCrea, Soldier American Army
Dr. Stephen McCrea, Surgeon American Army
Creighton McCrea, Captain in the 75th Highlanders, Queens Rangers
Robert McCrea, Captain in Queens Rangers & a Major in the 5th Royal Vet. Battalion
Obviously the family loyalties were divided during the Revolution. After the war, the British side of the McCrea family settled in Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK, and have a long history of service to the British Crown from the Revolutionary War until well into the late 1800s, from the battle of Trafalgar to the campaigns in India. Loyalist Robert became governor of the Channel Islands, after the American Revolution.
Little is known of Jane’s early life. After her father’s death in 1769, she made her home with her eldest brother, John, a Princeton graduate who had practiced law in Albany, married into the Beekman family, & then settled at Northumberland, N.Y., in the upper Hudson Valley, a few miles below the frontier outpost of Fort Edward. She was at least 25 in 1777, & not the maiden of 17 or 18 depicted in legend.

In New Jersey & later in New York, she had been courted by Loyalist David Jones, whose family had also moved to the Fort Edward area. In the latter part of 1776 Jones departed with his Tory neighbors to join the British army, where he became part of the forces led by Gen. John Burgoyne. When in the summer of 1777, Burgoyne launched his invasion down the Lake Champlain-Hudson River route, most of the patriot troops & nearby residents evacuated Fort Edward. John McCrea, now a colonel, is said to have urged his sister to come with him to Albany. But Jane had received a letter from David Jones informing her that “In a few days we will march to Ft. Edward, ….where I shall have the happiness to meet you.”

Though her story was later embroidered by fancy & subject to controversy, some facts are verified. On the morning of July 27, 1777, Jane McCrea went to the home of her friend Mrs. Sarah McNeil, who was preparing to flee Fort Edward for Albany. There, shortly after noon, the 2 women were discovered & carried off by a band of Native Americans scouting in advance of Burgoyne’s army. Mrs. McNeil was subsequently delivered to the British, but Jane McCrea’s dead body -scalped & bearing bullet wounds- was found the next day near Fort Edward.

Though some historians have contended that she was accidentally shot by a party of American troops pursuing the Native Americans, the best evidence - including the later testimony of a supposed eyewitness, Samuel Standish, an Native American captive being held in the vicinity- suggests that the Native Americans probably killed her.

General Burgoyne could not punish the guilty party for fear of breaking his alliance with them. Burgoyne's inability to punish the alleged killers also undermined British assertions that they were more civilized in their conduct of the war; the dissemination of this propaganda reportedly contributed to the success of Patriot recruiting drives in New York for several years.

The propaganda war certainly received a boost after Burgoyne wrote a letter to the American general Horatio Gates, complaining about American treatment of prisoners taken in the August 17 Battle of Bennington. Gates' response to Burgoyne was widely reprinted: “That the savages of America should in their warfare mangle and scalp the unhappy prisoners who fall into their hands is neither new nor extraordinary; but that the famous Lieutenant General Burgoyne, in whom the fine gentleman is united with the soldier and the scholar, should hire the savages of America to scalp europeans and the descendants of europeans, nay more, that he should pay a price for each scalp so barbarously taken, is more than will be believed in England…Miss McCrae, a young lady lovely to the sight, of virtuous character and amiable disposition, engaged to be married to an officer of your army, was…carried into the woods, and there scalped and mangled in the most shocking manner…”

News of the killing, surrounded by its aura of romantic tragedy, spread through the colonies & overseas.  London’s 1777 Annual Register recorded that Miss McCrea’s death “struck every breast with horror.” In the House of Commons, Edmund Burke took the occasion to denounce severely the British policy of using Native American allies. Within the northern colonies, the event -which Gen. Horatio Gates, the American commander, quickly exploited for propaganda purposes- crystallized a growing indignation & uneasiness. Neutrals, alarmed for their safety, swung over to the patriot cause; patriot sentiment consolidated, & a surge of new recruits strengthened Gates’ forces.

Within 3 months came Burgoyne’s historic surrender. Col. John McCrea buried his sister at Moses Kill, near Fort Edward. It was reported that David Jones deserted Burgoyne’s army in despair & retired to the Canadian wilderness.

Soon Jane McCrea became a fabled heroine of the Revolution, celebrated in ballads & poems. Philip Freneau used her story in his 1778 “American Independence.” Joel Barlow recalled it in the 1807 The Columbiad. Mercy Warren wrote of Burgoyne’s guilt in her 1805 History…of the American Revolution. A French author turned the tale into a novel as early as 1784, & Delia Bacon made it into a play in 1839, The Bride of Fort Edward. In Philadelphia the 1799 Ricketts' Circus performed "The Death of Miss McCrea," a pantomime co-written by John Durang. John Vanderlyn painted the portrait (shown above) in 1804, and James Fenimore Cooper described similar events in his novel The Last of the Mohicans, where the captured maiden was named Dora.

In 1822, with suitable ceremonies, Jane McCrea’s remains were removed to the old Fort Edward cemetery. McCrea's remains have been moved 3 times. In 1852, they were moved to the Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. The body was exhumed again in 2003, in hopes of solving the mystery of her death.

The story of the last investigation of McCrea’s body is recorded in the Plymouth Magazine, Winter 2006, Volume XXI, No 2 written by Dr. David R. Starbuck

"What is it like to dig up an American icon—in this case the most famous woman to be murdered and scalped during the American Revolution? Over the past three years, I have worked with the remains of Jane McCrea. Her tragic death on July 27, 1777, prompted thousands of outraged Americans throughout the northern colonies to rise up against British authority because Jane had been murdered by Indians who accompanied General John Burgoyne on his march south from Canada. Jane’s death thus contributed to the great American victory later that year at the Battle of Saratoga, known as the “turning point” of the American Revolution.

"The mysterious circumstances of her death made Jane McCrea one of the best-known American women of the 18th century. In July 1777, she was living in Fort Edward, N.Y., awaiting the arrival from Canada of her fiancĂ©, David Jones, a Tory officer with Burgoyne’s army. Most other settlers in northern New York had already fled for Albany. Only Jane and an older woman, Sara McNeil, remained behind in Sara’s house in Fort Edward. On July 27, a party of Indians was sent by Burgoyne to locate the two women and escort them back to the British camp. As the Indians approached, both women hid in the cellar; they were discovered and dragged out by their hair. The Indians mounted Jane on a horse, but Sara was forced to walk because she “was too heavy to be lifted on the horse easily.”

"What happened next has been hotly disputed by historians, but it appears that two competing bands of Indians fought over who was to receive the reward for delivering Jane to her fiancĂ©. While we know that she was then killed and scalped, it is unclear whether her death was a deliberate murder or merely an accident. The Indians claimed afterward that an American musketball, intended for them, had mortally wounded the young Scottish-Presbyterian woman. Faced with the prospect of no reward, they scalped her and took the scalp to the British camp. David Jones recognized Jane’s hair in the middle of a pile of scalps. He recovered her body, and buried her about three miles south of Fort Edward. The colonial population intrepreted Jane’s murder as a symbol of British oppression—and American leaders manipulated her image most effectively as they organized resistance to British authority.

"The mysterious circumstances of her death made Jane McCrea one of the best-known American women of the 19th century.

"Ironically, after her first burial in 1777, Jane McCrea was later dug up and relocated twice because of her prominence as a tourist attraction. In 1822, she was moved to State Street Cemetery in the Village of Fort Edward where her remains were placed atop the brick vault of Sara McNeil (who had passed away naturally in 1799 at the age of 77). In 1852, she was exhumed again and moved to the newly-created Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. A disturbing story later appeared in a local newspaper that year, describing how the box containing Jane McCrea’s bones had been “broken open and nearly all the bones stolen,” and her bones were “scattered all over the country.” … History alone could not establish whether any of Jane McCrea’s bones still rested in her third grave in Fort Edward.

"Given the many questions surrounding the circumstances of Jane McCrea’s death and subsequent reinterments, I wrote to her oldest living relative, Mrs. Mary McCrea Deeter (then 97 years old), on May 1, 2002, and asked whether she would give her consent to an exhumation and forensics study that would establish for certain whether Jane McCrea actually rested in Union Cemetery. Upon receiving her consent, I retained an attorney to draft a petition to the Supreme Court in Washington County, N.Y., and assembled a team of forensic scientists and archaeologists including several forensic scientists from the New York State Police Forensics Investigation Center and Dr. Anthony Falsetti, head of the C.A. Pound Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The court granted our petition in November 2002, and I chose April 9, 2003 as the date for the fourth and—we hoped—final exhumation of Jane McCrea.

"Using the skull as a starting point, scientists were able to reconstruct the features of Sara McNeil, the 77-year old female colonist who was Jane McCrea's companion in life and death.

"All between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. that day, we conducted the exhumation, found the original burial trench, and discovered the remains of a 20" x 24" box containing the skeletons of two women—but only one skull, from a very old woman who had definitelynot been scalped. I was the archaeologist in the bottom of the trench, responsible for excavating the bones and passing them up to the scientists who took measurements and collected bone samples for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing. We also brought in a radiologist who took x-rays to look for possible cause(s) of death. In addition to the two dozen scientists and historians who attended the exhumation, I was joined by a PSU student, Jennifer Gynan, who was one of our bucket-carriers and sifters. At the end of the day, we placed all of the bones inside a modern coffin and returned it to the grave. A Presbyterian minister said the burial service (again!), and then the process of analysis and interpretation began.

"The presence of two skeletons was utterly unexpected but, since one set of bones was from a very old woman, I acted on a hunch and contacted a descendant of Sara McNeil to find out whether there might be a modern-day maternal descendant of Sara’s from whom we could obtain an mtDNA sample for comparative testing. There was an off chance that the bones of Sara had become combined with Jane’s in 1852, and the two women might have been moved together to Union Cemetery. It took a full year for the U.S. Department of Defense to prepare a DNA sequence for the “ancient DNA” from the grave but only a couple of weeks to collect the modern DNA from a 94-year-old (seventh generation) descendant of Sara McNeil and to have the samples compared. And sure enough, they matched! Sara McNeil, Jane’s companion at the end of her life, had joined her in death.

"Our project was the subject of multiple news stories by the Associated Press, and in November 2004 we appeared on The History Channel’s “Buried Secrets of the Revolutionary War.”

"We returned to the grave on April 22, 2005 with yet another court order from the Supreme Court, and this time we were able to do a much more thorough separation of the two commingled skeletons. We prepared a reconstruction of Sara’s 77-year-old face from the skull discovered in the grave, and I experienced the thrill of showing “the face” to the descendants of Sara McNeil just before we returned both women to the ground, each with her own coffin.

"In addition to reconstructing Sara’s face, perhaps the most significant outcome of our new work was discovering that the skeleton of Jane McCrea was just as intact as that of Sara McNeil. Because of the old stories about Jane’s bones having been stolen as souvenirs, we had assumed that no more than a handful of the bones might be hers. However, this time it was possible for Anthony Falsetti to spend much more time with the bones, and as he laid out the two skeletons side-by-side on our laboratory tables, it became clear that most of the major limb bones were present from both women, but with very few surviving ribs, vertebrae, hand or foot bones. Jane McCrea’s skull was missing from the assemblage (no doubt stolen as a souvenir in 1852), so while it is now possible to describe even the face of Sara McNeil, we can only say that Jane was a petite woman, between 5' and 5'4" tall, with no evidence of any injuries on the bones that were still in the grave.

"The relatives and descendants of Jane and Sara have been quite pleased with our efforts to bring both women “back to life” and to restore to them a part of their identities. One of the very real benefits of our research is that we have prompted a flurry of new historical research into the lives of 18th-century women on the frontier of upstate New York. We have also prompted a host of questions about when we might go back into the grave for what would be the 6th time."

David R. Starbuck is associate professor of anthropology in the department of social science at PSU.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Slaves - Life in Georgia and Carolina 1750

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The Rev. Mr. Johann Martin Bolzius (1703- 1765) was a pastor who accompanied the Salzburgers from Rotterdam in their pilgrimage to England, and then on to Georgia in 1733. He wrote back to Rotterdam trying to explain the Atlantic coast colonies in the form of questions & answers. His 1750 letter remains at the Georgia Salzburger Society.

Question. What is the daily work of the Negroes on a plantation throughout the year?

Answer. If one wants to establish a plantation on previously uncultivated land, one orders the Negroes to clear a piece of land of trees and bushes first of all, so as to build the necessary huts on it at once.

2) Until March one has as much land cleared of trees and bushes and prepared for planting as possible.

3) The land which is to be cultivated must be fenced with split poles 12 to 13 feet long and nearly 4 inches thick. Every Negro must split 100 of such poles per day from oaks or firs. Others carry them together, and several make the fence. In this men and women are kept busy.

4) In the evening all the Negroes must occupy themselves with burning the cut bushes and the branches.

N.B. When the land is prepared for planting, the bushes must be cut down first and piled on heaps, and afterwards the trees must be felled. The Negroes must hack the branches off the trees, and also pile them in heaps.

Now when one observes that all branches and bushes are quite dry, one puts fire to them and lets them burn up. Since the land is full of dry leaves, the fire spreads far and wide and burns grass and everything it finds. One lets the felled trees lie on the field until they rot, for it would be a loss of time if one wanted to split and burn them.

N.B. One looks after the best building timber as well as possible. The white oaks are used for barrel staves, and the young white oaks and nut trees are used for hoops.
The order of planting is the following,

1) The Negroes plant potatoes at the end of March unless the weather is too cold. This keeps all Negroes busy, and they have to loosen the earth as much as they can. The potatoes are cut into several pieces and put into long dug furrows, or mounds, which are better than the former. When the leaves have grown 2 or 3 feet long (which is usually the case at the end of May or early June), one piles these leaves on long hills so that both ends project and are not covered.

2) As soon as one is through with the potatoes, one plants Indian corn. A good Negro man or woman must plant half an acre a day. Holes are merely made in the earth 6 feet from one another, and 5 or 6 kernels put into each hole.

3) After the corn the Negroes make furrows for rice planting. A Negro man or woman must account for a quarter acre daily. On the following day the Negroes sow and cover the rice in the furrows, and half an acre is the daily task of a Negro.

4) Now the Negroes start to clean the corn of the grass, and a day’s work is half an acre, be he man or woman, unless the ground is too full of roots.

5) When they are through with that, they plant beans together among the corn. At this time the children must weed out the grass in the potato patches.

6) Thereupon they start for the first time to cultivate (behauen) the rice and to clean it of grass. A Negro must complete 1/4 acre daily.

7) Now the corn must be cleaned of the grass for the second time, and a little earth put around the stalks like little hills. Some young corn is pulled out, and only 3 or 4 stalks remain. A little earth is also laid on the roots of the beans, all of which the Negroes do at the same time. Their day’s task in this work is half an acre for each.

8) As soon as they are through with the corn, they cultivate (hauen) the rice a second time. The quality of the land determines their day’s work in this.

9) Corn and rice are cultivated (hauen) for the third and last time. A Negro can take care of an acre and more in this work, and 1/4 an acre of rice. Now the work on rice, corn, and beans is done. As soon as the corn is ripe it is bent down so that the ears hang down towards the earth, so that no water collects in them or the birds damage them.

Afterwards the Negroes are used for all kinds of house work, until the rice is white and ripe for cutting, and the beans are gathered, which grow much more strongly when the corn has been bent down. The rice is cut at the end of August or in September, some of it also early in October. The pumpkins, which are also planted among the corn, are now ripening too. White beets are sown in good fertilized soil in July and August, and during the full moon.

Towards the middle of August all Negro men of 16 to 60 years must work on the public roads, to start new ones or to improve them, namely for 4 or 5 days, or according to what the government requires, and one has to send along a white man with a rifle or go oneself.

At the time when the rice is cut and harvested, the beans are collected too, which task is divided among the Negroes. They gather the rice, thresh it, grind it in wooden mills, and stamp it mornings and evenings. The corn is harvested last. During the 12 days after Christmas they plant peas, garden beans, transplant or prune trees, and plant cabbage. Afterwards the fences are repaired, and new land is prepared for cultivating.

Question. What is permitted to Negroes after they have done their required day’s work?

Answer. They are given as much land as they can handle. On it they plant for themselves corn, potatoes, tobacco, peanuts, water and sugar melons, pumpkins, bottle pumpkins (sweet ones and stinking ones which are used as milk and drink vessels and for other things).

They plant for themselves also on Sundays. For if they do not work they make mischief and do damage... They sell their own crops and buy some necessary things.

Question. How much meat, fish, bread, and butter do they receive weekly?

Answer. Their food is nothing but Indian corn, beans, pounded rice, potatoes, pumpkins. If the master wishes, he gives them a little meat when he slaughters. They have nothing but water to drink.


The Rev. Mr. Johann Martin Bolzius (1703- 1765)

 Johann Martin Boltzius (sometimes spelled "Bolzius") was senior minister to the Salzburger community at Ebenezer, Georgia, for 3 decades (1735-65) & was largely responsible for its success. He was a vigorous opponent of slavery during the formative years of the Georgia colony. Boltzius was born  in Forst, Germany, southwest of Berlin. His parents, Eva Rosina Muller & Martin Boltzius, earned a modest living as weavers. Young Boltzius won a theology scholarship to the University of Halle (later Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg) in Halle, Germany. There he studied Lutheran Pietism, which emphasized salvation by grace, strong ethics, vigorous pastoral leadership, & social compassion. Boltzius then briefly served as inspector of the Latin School of the Francke, or Halle, Orphanage Foundation, an institution that provided charitable services & encouraged Protestant education. Gotthilf August Francke, cofounder & professor of the school, selected Boltzius to serve as senior minister to the Salzburg Protestant refugees who journeyed to Georgia in the fall of 1733 to escape the repressive policies of Catholic archbishop Count Leopold von Firmian. A younger associate, Israel Christian Gronau, accompanied Boltzius. To cement relations with their new charges, Boltzius & Gronau married two Salzburg sisters in the Georgia settlement!

Charity worker Isabella Marshall Graham 1742-1814

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Isabella Marshall Graham, (1742-1814), teacher & early charitable worker, the daughter of John & Janet (Hamilton) Marshall, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, & grew up on an estate at Eldersley near Paisley. Her father, a landowner, raised Isabella & her brother in comfort, & a legacy from her grandfather, spent at her own request on a “finished education,” enabled her to attend the boarding school of Mrs. Betty Morehead for 7 years. The family was known for piety, in the stern tradition of Scottish Presbyterian Calvinism, & the child early manifested a religious interest. At 17, she became a communicant of the Church of Scotland under the ministry of Dr. John Witherspoon, later president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton).

Isabella Marshal Graham from the Library of Congress

She was married in 1765 to Dr. John Graham of Paisley, a widower & a “gentleman of liberal education, & of respectable standing.” Planning to settle in America, they sailed 2 years later to Canada, where Graham was physician to a British army regiment, the Royal Montreal, & Fort Niagara. They left behind in Scotland an infant son who died within the year; in North America their other 4 children were born: Jessie, (Mrs. Hay Robinson), Joanna Graham Bethune, Isabella (Mrs. Andrew Smith), & John. Mrs. Graham enjoyed life at Fort Niagara raising her babies, although she found the soldiers’ lack of religion appalling. Her own faith enabled her to accept with devout resignation the death of her husband in Antigua, where they had recently been transferred in 1773, just before the birth of their 5th child.

Left almost penniless, Mrs. Graham sailed with her large family back to the security of her father in Scotland, only to find that he, too, was in need. he was not prepared to support himself, much less his daughter I her 5 young children. For 3 years she lived in a thatched cottage at Cartside, in such poverty, that she & her children sometimes had only porridge & potatoes to eat. Unable to support her father & children on her meager widow’s pension, she opened a small school in Paisley. Around 1780, on the invitation of some “friends of religion,” she founded a boarding school for young ladies in Edinburgh. As her situation improved, she was able to indulge in charity, becoming “ingenious in contrivances to do good.” She used some of her income from tuitions to help people in small businesses, taking payment in their manufactured articles; she served as almoner for her friend Lady Glenorchy, a philanthropist & a patron of the school; & she organized a mutual-benefit Society for the Relief of the Destitute Sick.

David F. Bloom, ed. Memoirs of Eminently Pious Women of Britain and America (Hartford, 1833), detail

Her desire to return to America, which she thought “the country where the Church of Christ would eventually flourish,” was encouraged by Dr. Witherspoon & “many respectable persons” of New York. In 1789, she came to New York City with her daughters & established a girls’ school that soon had more than 50 students & a distinguished list of patrons. Uniting with the Cedar Street Scotch Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Graham found herself in a congenial religious & social climate. Her daughters all married New York merchants. Once they were comfortably settled, she retired from teaching, lived with one or another of them, & devoted herself to philanthropy.

In 1797, Mrs. Graham joined with her daughter Joanna & her friends Sarah (Ogden) Hoffman (1742-1821) & Elizabeth Bayley Seton, who later became a Saint in the Catholic church, in organizing the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children-one of the earliest charitable associations in the United States & one of the first instances of women taking organized action on their own. Mrs. Graham was chosen “First Directress” of the society supervising its board of managers. Under her frugal management, the society aided 98 widows with 223 children during the winter of 1797-98, & the number increased during the years following. With funds raised by subscription &, after 1802, when the society was given a New York State charter. With money from legislative grants, they purchased food & distributed it to needs widows; & gave direct financial relief. The society also sought employment for the widows. Buying a house for the purpose, Mrs. Graham & her associates took orders for needlework. During the winter of 1807-08, when work was scarce, they gave out flax & spinning wheels, & paid for the products. They employed widows to teach schools in different parts of the city. Some of Mrs. Graham’s former pupils, under her supervision, conducted a school for the widows’ children. The society also opened two Sabbath schools for the instruction of adults, one of which Mrs. Graham herself taught.

When her daughter Joanna Bethune organized the Orphan Asylum Society in 1806, Mrs. Graham presided over the founding meeting & in 1810, became a trustee. With her daughter, she taught for a time at the asylum’s school, & she gave regular religious instruction at the school as well as to children in the public almshouse. She regularly visited needy families, helping them with her own money & with religious encouragement; often she would be away from home all day on various charitable missions. All kinds of destitute & unfortunate women came under her care. She called on female inmates of the Lunatic Asylum & sick women prisoners & served as president of the Ladies Board of the Magdalen Society form its organization in 1811, until her death. In her final year, at 71, she established an adult school for young people working in factories, which met on Sundays, & presided over the organization of her daughter’s society for establishing a female House of Industry to provide employment for needy women.

No longer strong enough for extensive visiting, Mrs. Graham spent much of her last 2 years in prayer & meditation. She died of “cholera morbus” in New York City at the home of her son-in-law Divie Bethune. A biography, The Power of Faith: Exemplified in the Life and Writings of the Late Mrs. Isasbella Graham, of New York (1816), published by the Bethunes, was widely circulated here & in Great Britain, with more than 50,000 copies printed in the United States before 1852 (Sarah J. Hale, Woman’s Record, 2nd ed., 1855, pp. 331-32). The widest circulation was in American Tract Society editions. In the text, her daughter & son-in-law recall her early efforts to encourage industry among the female poor:

“In the winter 1807-8, when the suspension of commerce by the embargo, rendered the situation of the poor more destitute than ever, Mrs. Graham adopted a plan best calculated in her view to detect the idle applicant for charity, & at the same time to furnish employment for the more worthy amongst the female poor. She purchased flax, & lent wheels, where applicants had none. Such as were industrious, took the work with thankfulness, and were paid for it; those who were beggars by profession, never kept their word to return for the flax or the wheel.” (p. 59)

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Biography - Clementina Rind 1740-1774, Printer for Thomas Jefferson & Editor of the Virginia Gazette

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Clementina Rind (1740-1774), printer & newspaper editor, wife of William Rind, public printer in Maryland & Virginia, is said to have been a native of Maryland. She may have been the daughter of William Elder (1707-1775) & his wife Jacoba Clementina Livers (1717-1807) of Prince George’s County, Maryland. The name Clementina often referred to James, the Old Pretender to the English throne, & his wife Jacoba Clementina.

Her husband, born in Annapolis in 1733, was reared there as apprentice to the public printer, Jonas Green. During the 7-year period of his partnership with Green (1758-65) young Rind acquired town property, a home, & his wife, Clementina. In 1758, that the firm of "Green & Rind" was formed for the purpose of carrying on the newspaper. The junior partner, it seems, did not enter into the ordinary business of the establishment; his name appeared on none of its imprints except that of the Maryland Gazette. To protest the Stamp Act the partners suspended publication of the Maryland Gazette in October 1765, & shortly thereafter Rind accepted the invitation of a group of Virginians to publish a “free paper” in Williamsburg.

"Until the beginning of our revolutionary disputes," wrote Thomas Jefferson to Isaiah Thomas 43 years later, "we had but one press, & that having the whole business of the government, & no competitor for public favor, nothing disagreeable to the governor could be got into it. We procured Rind to come from Maryland to publish a free paper."


The first issue of Rind’s Virginia Gazette appeared May 16, 1766, under the motto: “Open to ALL PARTIES, but Influenced by NONE.” The press, the paper & the printer quickly established a good reputation. The fall assembly chose Rind as public printer, & in spite of rising costs of paper & other supplies the business prospered. When the editor died in August 1773, his family was living on the Main street in the present Ludwell-Paradise House & the printing shop was operated in the same handsome brick building.

His widow Clementina immediately took over the editorship & business management of the press for her “dear infants”- William, John, Charles, James, & Maria. The household included also a kinsman, John Pinkney; an apprentice, Isaac Collins; & a Negro slave, Dick who probably worked as a semiskilled artisan.


As editor Mrs. Rind was careful to preserve the integrity of the newspaper’s motto & purpose. Reports of foreign & domestic occurrences, shipping news, & advertisements were supplemented by essays, articles, & poems accepted from contributors or selected from her “general correspondence” & from London magazines & newspapers. During her short tenure as publisher, Rind's periodical highlighted new scientific research, debates on education, & philanthropic causes, as well as plans for improving educational opportunities-especially those relating to the College of William & Mary.

Clementina Rind Rind was not hesitant to express her own voice in the Virginia Gazette. She wrote articles that expressed her patriotic ideals, which supported rights of the American colonies & denounced British authority.

Apparently women were valued readers of her paper, for it carried an unusual number of poetic tributes to ladies in acrostic or rebus form, literary conceits, & news reports with a feminine slant. As conventional fillers she used sprightly vignettes of life in European high society, in rural England, & in other colonies.

Mrs. Rind was peculiarly sensitive to the good will of contributors & usually explained why specific offerings were not being published promptly. Sometimes, however, contributions were summarily rejected. Scarcely three months after Rind’s death her competitor, Alexander Purdie, published an anonymous open letter criticizing her refusal to print an article exposing the misconduct of some of “the guilty Great.” Her dignified reply, published in her own paper the next week, demonstrated independence, good sense, & literary skill.

She had rejected the article, she wrote, because it was an anonymous attack on the character of private persons & should be heard in a court of law, not in a newspaper; yet she promised: “When the author gives up his name, it shall, however repugnant to my inclination, have a place in this paper, as the principles upon which I set out will then, I flatter myself, plead my excuse with every party.” In later issues of her gazette contributors often expressed healthy respect for her standards & literary judgment.

Her bid for public favor was so well received, that she expanded her printing program & in April 1774, after 6 months as editor, announced the purchase of “an elegant set of types from London.” A month later the House of Burgesses appointed her public printer in her own right, & they continued to give her press all the public business in sprite of competing petitions from Purdie & Dixon, publishers of a rival Virginia Gazette.


In early 1774, she printed Thomas Jefferson's A Summary View of the Rights of British America just after Peyton Randolph read it aloud in his home to a gathering of Virginia patriots. George Washington was among the first to purchase a copy, writing in his diary that it cost him 3 shillings and ninepence. The pamphlet was reprinted in Philadelphia and London, and its importance has been described as "second only to the Declaration of Independence." It was a document Jefferson had drafted at Monticello for the guidance of Virginia's delegates to the Continental Congress. The colony's House of Burgesses considered the composition too radical for official endorsement, but a group of Jefferson's friends persuaded the Widow Rind to issue it as a pamphlet. Thus A Summary View of the Rights of British America appeared in August 1774. The future author of the Declaration of Independence later wrote: "If it had any merit, it was that of first taking our true ground, and that which was afterwards assumed and maintained."

At the end of August, however, she became ill & found it difficult to collect payments due her; yet her pride in her work & her optimistic plans for the future were undiminished. She died in Williamsburg a only a month later & was probably buried beside her husband at Bruton Parish Church.

Her readers prepared a number of poetic eulogies & a formal elegy of 150 lines. Although Clementina Rind lived only about 34 years, her brief obituary read, "a Lady of singular Merit, and universally esteemed." Beneath extravagant metaphors one can see her reader’s sincere affection & admiration for a woman who combined wide interests, literary talent, & sound professional judgment.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Philadelphia-born Quaker Minister Rebecca Jones 1739-1818

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Rebecca Jones (1739-1818), Quaker minister, was born in Philadelphia, the only daughter of William & Mary Jones. Her father, a sailor, died at sea when she was too young to remember him, leaving 2 children, Rebecca & an older brother. Her mother, a loyal member of the Church of England, conducted a school for little girls in her home. Eager for Rebecca to become a teacher, her mother made sure that her daughter obtained a good education.

As a girl “romping Becky Jones” often attended Friends meetings with her playmates. The Quakers (or Religious Society of Friends) had formed in England in 1652, around a charismatic leader, George Fox (1624-1691). Many saw Quakers as radical Puritans, because the Quakers carried to extremes many Puritan convictions. They stretched the sober deportment of the Puritans into a glorification of "plainness." They expanded the Puritan concept of a church of individuals regenerated by the Holy Spirit to the idea of the indwelling of the Spirit or the "Light of Christ" in every person. Such teaching struck many of the Quakers' contemporaries as dangerous heresy.

Early Quaker Meeting

Quakers were severely persecuted in England for daring to deviate so far from orthodox Christianity. By 1680, 10,000 Quakers had been imprisoned in England; & 243 had died of torture & mistreatment in the King's jails. This reign of terror impelled Friends to seek refuge in New Jersey, in the 1670s, where they soon became well entrenched.

In 1681, when Quaker leader William Penn (1644-1718) parlayed a debt owed by Charles II to his father into a charter for the province of Pennsylvania, many more Quakers were prepared to grasp the opportunity to live in a land where they might worship freely. By 1685, as many as 8,000 Quakers had come to Pennsylvania. Although the Quakers may have resembled the Puritans in some religious beliefs & practices, they differed with them over the necessity of compelling religious uniformity in society.

When little Rebecca Jones began to refrain from such “ornamental branches” of her studies as music & dancing, her mother realized the that Quaker influence was striking deeper than she liked & sought to thwart it. The conflict wore heavily on Rebecca, who was also undergoing an intense inner struggle to surrender her own will to God’s. This she eventually achieved, aided by encouragements in 1755, from a visiting English Friend, Catherine Peyton.

After long hesitation Rebecca Jones in 1758, at 19, began to speak in the Friends meetings for worship, an open indication of her adoption of the Quaker faith. Two years later her gift in the ministry was “acknowledged” by her meeting, her mother thereupon becoming reconciled to the daughter’s decision.

Rebecca Jones thus became one of the laymen & women by whom the Quaker ministry has traditionally been performed. For over 20 years, she combined this ministry with teaching her mother’s school, which she too over upon her mother’s illness & death in 1761, though her inclination had been to find some other means of livelihood. She proved an able & respected schoolmistress.

Early Quakers

She was a devoted friend of the famous Quaker minister John Woolman, who once penned mottoes for her pupils’ writing lessons. She retained, in her unassuming way, a certain “queenly dignity,” as well as an easy & gracious manner. These qualities enhanced the effectiveness of her speaking. Among women of her time she stood out for her intellectual capacity, quick wit, strength of character, & “sanctified common sense.”

In 1784, while at the height of her power as a preacher, Rebecca Jones gave up her school & laid before her monthly meeting her wish to visit Friends in England, a concern she had long cherished. Credentials were granted, & she sailed with 6 other Friends from Philadelphia. So impressed was the captain, Thomas Truxtun, later a naval here of the war with France, that he declared in London he had brought over an American Quaker lady who possesses more sense than both Houses of Parliament.

On arriving, the Friends sent straight to the Yearly Meeting, where a petition, long endorsed by American Friends, to establish a woman’s meeting for discipline, with more powers that the women’s meeting had had previously, was about to be presented to the men’s meeting. Rebecca Jones was instrumental in securing its approval.

Silhouette of Rebecca Jones. Early Quakers objected to having their portraits drawn or painted, but likenesses drawn from tracing a shadow casting and trimming out the resulting shape were considered acceptable by the church.

During the next 4 years, with a succession of the ablest women Friends as companions, she traversed the length & breadth of England & also visited Scotland ,Wales, & Ireland. She impressed her hearers with the need for a revival of zeal & simplicity. Her memorandum of her tour enumerated 1,578 meetings for worship & discipline & 1,120 meetings with Friends in the station of servants, apprentices, & laborers (for whom she had a special concern), besides innumerable religious family visits. Her message particularly reached the young. Under a sense of “fresh & sure direction,” she returned home in the summer of 1788.

Having given up teaching, she now earned her living by keeping a little ship which her English friends kept supplied with “lawns & cambrics & find cap muslins.” She continued he preaching, frequently attending yearly & quarterly meetings in various parts of the Northeastern states, especially in New Jersey & New England.

She fell ill in the yellow fever epidemic of 1793, in which 4,000 Philadelphians died, but lived to resume herm ministry & the wide correspondence which was a major activity of her later years. In the mid-1790s, she contributed her knowledge of Friends education in England to the founding of Westtown (Pa.) School, a boarding school which opened in the spring of 1799, patterned after the Ackworth Friends School in Yorkshire.

Silhouette of Rebecca Jones.

For more than 50 years Rebecca Jones was a trusted counselor & informal almoner, “eminent for leading the cause of the poor.” Her home was always open to those in trouble or wishing her advice; possessing “singular penetration on discovering cases of distress, and delicacy in affording relief” (Allinson, p. 256), she was also a frequent visitor at Friends almshouses.

In 1813, she suffered an attack of typhus fever; & for the last 5 years of her life, she was confined almost entirely to her home, where she was devotedly card for by Bernice Chattin Allinson, a young widow whom she had taken in as a daughter. Rebecca Jones died in Philadelphia in 1818, in her 79th year. She was buried in the Friends ground on Mulberry (now Arch) Street on the morning of the yearly meeting of ministers & elders.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Biography - Cherokee Leader Nancy Ward 1738-1822 of Tennessee

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Nancy Ward (c 1738-1822), Cherokee leader, was probably born at Chota, a Cherokee village on the Little Tennessee River near Fort Loudoun in Monroe County, Tennessee. Her father is said to have been a Delaware Indian who, following the custom in the matriarchal Cherokee society, had become a member of the Wolf clan, when he married Tame Doe, the sister of Atta-kulla-kulla (Little Carpenter), civil chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Nancy (an anglicized version of her Indian name, Nanye’hi), was married at an early age to Kingfisher of the Deer clan, by whom she had a son, Fivekiller, & a daughter, Catharine.

She first won notice in 1755, when her husband was killed during the battle of Taliwa (near present-day Canton, Ga.), a skirmish in the long rivalry between the Cherokees & the Creeks. At once taking his place in the battle line, she helped secure a decisive Cherokee victory. In recognition of her valor, she was chosen Agi-ga-u-e, or “Beloved Woman” of her tribe. In this capacity, she headed the influential Women’s Council, made up of a representative from each Cherokee clan, & sat as a member of the Council of Chiefs.

Her 2nd husband was Bryant (or Brian) Ward. Ward, an English trader who had fought in the French and Indian War, took up residence with the Cherokees & married Nancy in the late 1750s. Ward had a wife, but since Cherokees did not consider marriage a life-long institution, the arrangement apparently presented few problems. Ward & her English husband lived in Chota for a time & became the parents of a daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy).

Ward left the Cherokee Nation sometime prior to 1760, when the suddenly hostile Cherokees destroyed Fort Loudoun & massacred its British garrison. Ward moved back to South Carolina, where he lived the remainder of his life with his white wife & family. Nancy Ward and Betsy visited his home on many occasions, where they were welcomed and treated with respect.

Influenced perhaps by these associations, as well as by her uncle, Atta-kulla-kulla, usually a friend of the English, Nancy Ward seems to have maintained a steady friendship for the white settlers who were gradually establishing themselves along the Holston & Watauga river valleys of eastern Tennessee.

This friendship had important results during the American Revolution. In 1775 or 1776, Nancy Ward is credited with having sent a secret warning to John Sevier, a leader of the Tennessee settlers, of a planned pro-British Cherokee attack. When one settler, Mrs. William Bean, was captured by Cherokee warriors, Nancy Ward personally intervened to save her from death at the stake. Such was Nancy Ward’s repute among the settlers that in October 1776, when the Cherokee villages were devastated by colonial troops, Chota was spared.

Four years later, when another Cherokee uprising was imminent, she again sent a timely warning to the settlers, using an intermediary Isaac Thomas, a local trader. A countering raid was at once organized; as the expedition approached the Cherokee territory-according to the report later sent to Thomas Jefferson, governor of Virginia, noted, “the famous Indian Woman Nancy Ward came to Camp,…gave us various intelligence, & made an overture in behalf of some of the Cheifs [sic] for Peace”

Despite her efforts the Cherokee villages were pillaged, but again Nancy Ward & her family were given preferential treatment. At the subsequent peace negotiations conducted by John Sevier, Nancy Ward spoke for the new defeated Cherokees, again urging friendship rather than war. In 1785, at the talks preceding the Treaty of Hopewell, she again pleaded eloquently for a “chain of friendship” linking the 2 cultures.

Nancy Ward was described by one settler in 1772, as “queenly & commanding” & her residence as outfitted in “barbaric splendor” (Hale & Merritt, I, 59). While sheltering Mrs. Bean after her rescue in 1776, she had learned from her how to make butter & cheese, & soon afterward she introduced dairying among the Cherokees, herself buying the first cattle. In postwar years, she sought further to strengthen the economy of her people by cattle raising & more intensive farming.

Ward exerted considerable influence over the affairs of both the Cherokees & the white settlers & participated actively in treaty negotiations. In July 1781, she spoke powerfully at the negotiations held on the Long Island of the Holston River following settler attacks on Cherokee towns. Leader Oconastota designated Kaiyah-tahee (Old Tassel) to represent the Council of Chiefs in the meeting with John Sevier & the other treaty commissioners. After Old Tassel finished his persuasive talk, Ward called for a lasting peace on behalf of both white and Indian women. This unparalleled act of permitting a woman to speak in the negotiating council took the commissioners aback.

In their response, Colonel William Christian acknowledged the emotional effect her plea had on the men & praised her humanity, promising to respect the peace if the Cherokees likewise remained peaceful. Ward's speech may have influenced the negotiators in a more fundamental way, because the resulting treaty was one of the few where settlers made no demand for Cherokee land. Before the meeting, the commissioners had intended to seek all land north of the Little Tennessee River. Nevertheless, the earlier destruction of Cherokee towns & the tribe's winter food supply left many Indians facing hunger. As a result of the desperate circumstances, Ward & the very old Oconastota spent that winter in the home of Joseph Martin, Indian Agent to the Cherokees & husband of Ward's daughter Betsy.

Again, at the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785, Ward made a dramatic plea for continued peace. At the close of the ceremonies, she invited the commissioners to smoke her pipe of peace & friendship. Wistfully hoping to bear more children to people the Cherokee nation, Ward looked to the protection of Congress to prevent future disturbances and expressed the hope that the "chain of friendship will never more be broken." Although the commissioners promised that all settlers would leave Cherokee lands within six months and even gave the Indians the right to punish recalcitrant homesteaders, whites ignored the treaty, forcing the Cherokees to make addional land cessions.

Though too ill to be present, she sent a vigorous message to the Cherokee Council of May 1817, urging the tribe not to part with any more of its land. But other forces were stronger than her aged voice. At this time, the Cherokee moved from a matriarchal, clan-type of government to a republic much like our own. The new republican order supplanted the old hierarchy among the Cherokees, & by the Hiwassee Purchase on 1819, they gave up all the land north of the Hiwassee River.

Thus forced to leave Chota, Nancy Ward opened a small inn overlooking the Ocoee River in the southeastern corner of Tennessee, near the present town of Benton. She died there in 1822, & was buried on a nearby hill, in a grave later marked by a Tennessee D.A.R. chapter bearing her name. Her grave is beside the graves of her son Five Killer and her brother Long Fellow (The Raven). Thirteen years after her death the Cherokees surrendered all claim to their historic homeland & were transported to new territories in the Southwest.

Nancy Ward's Grave, once unmarked, near Benton, Tennessee

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
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